PRESAGE: First conclusions on CEC removal during the decentralised treatment of real wastewaters


2nd general meeting of PRESAGE. @PRESAGE

PRESAGE is focused on innovative decentralized wastewater treatments based on aerobic and anaerobic compact systems. The aim is to reduce the emission of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), comprising organic micropollutants, antimicrobial resistances and pathogens (bacteria and viruses).

The project’s consortium is formed by six partners from universities belonging to five European countries and Brazil, and comprises a background of different disciplines. During the first two years of the project, the consortium was able to work together to assess the efficiency of pilot plants, treating real wastewater in four demosites to remove selected CECs. To do so, the project had to work in cooperation to establish common protocols and objectives, define a sampling monitoring and transportation procedure, exchange researchers, meet virtually or onsite etc.

So far, PRESAGE has had two face-to-face general meetings, in Santiago de Compostela (June 2022) and in Copenhagen (May 2023) and, of course, a very large number of virtual meetings. Currently, the innovative technologies proposed, based mainly on compact membrane bioreactors designs, are being validated at different demosites treating black and grey water, and effluents from hospitals and an antibiotic production industry, in close collaboration with the industrial sector.

The project partners have gathered a relevant set of operational and monitoring data concerning all targeted CECs. Not only the operational stability of the pilot treatment plants is noticeable, but also their good performance in terms of conventional pollutants, such as organic matter and nutrients, and also in the case of the organic micropollutants selected (antibiotics).

In the case of pathogens, PRESAGE is monitoring both bacterial pathogens and viruses. The data obtained so far indicate a substantial reduction (higher than 95% in most samples) in bacteria but also in the case of most of the viruses targeted,  which is quite remarkable. Another important point is the analysis of antimicrobial resistances in these real wastewaters and the treatment schemes proposed. After a first HT-PCR screen to check the relative abundance of ARGs present at the demosites, the consortium agreen on a selected list of target ARGs. The results gathered so far show that most of the ARGs are extensively removed from the water in all tested technologies.

Effluents from the demosites were also characterized in terms of ecotoxicity. For this, the project had to organize the delivery of large samples of treated water (around 30-40 liters) from the location of the demosites to Toulouse. The results obtained so far indicate an absence of toxicity for wastewater treated in the Spanish demosite and a strong efficiency in the case of IFAS pilot treatment system treating hospital wastewater in Copenhagen (Denmark).


4th general meeting of PRESAGE. @PRESAGE